Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Other Place

He watched them from behind the curtain. His fearsome avatar, the billowing smoke the explosions, all were having their effect. But the young girl, while afraid, wasn’t backing down. Then the dog found him. He really should have had the engineers design the control station at a greater remove. He wheedled some distracting diversion, but he was caught.

Really it was a relief for the farce to be over. He confessed the fraud readily, explained the bizarre hoax he’d perpetrated. The fearsome image he’d projected to dominate the land was unraveling, and he didn’t care. It felt good, liberating for himself. He would be the first free citizen.

They’d come to him with needs and he had nothing. Yet somehow in the glow of confession, he saw them for who they truly were. They were just as confused as he was. They were searching for things they already had. They didn’t suffer from loss, they suffered from low self esteem. All except the girl. She was the only actualized person in the room, but fortunately, she had dumb luck on her side, and he was the only one to recognize it.

A few speeches and a few props of state and he’d bucked up the others. He passed out medals, diplomas, and some novelty gew-gaw he had lying around in his junk drawer. This was easy! Once he got going, it was easy. Only the dog didn’t need anything, and he was sure there were some scraps of meat around if it did. The same razzle-dazzle he’d used to inspire fear now inspired gratitude and uplift. He wasn’t a fraud. He’d merely misdirected his talents.

And the girl. She was the only one whose needs he couldn’t meet with a quick speech and a prop. She needed to go home. She’d either become a refugee or a queen, if she didn’t have those slippers. She had more magic on her feet than he’d ever had in his entire body, but she didn’t have the knowledge. He knew the magic words.

He was no wizard, but he knew a thing or two.

--Dan Kilian

The Miasma

The Critic Masturbates

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